From Pandemic to Paradigm Shift: How We are Adapting to Meet the Evolving Needs of our Campuses and Communities
When a crisis hits, be it a hurricane or an international pandemic, students want to immediately respond. However, good intentions do not always present themselves as meaningful actions. A large group of untrained volunteers descending upon a community in crisis often creates more harm than good. It is our role to step into these spaces and bridge the gap between community partners and student volunteers. We must help guide our students in finding opportunities that allow them to safely engage, while providing meaningful support to our partners. Come learn from colleagues at Brandeis University’s Department of Community Service and the ways we pivoted our operations to continue providing necessary support to our community and campus amidst a public health crisis. In this session, we will share examples of both new and adapted programs and risk management policies, challenges and successes of remote engagement, takeaways from the shift from direct service to advocacy, and lessons we learned that will change our work long after the pandemic. We will also share the ways our definitions of service and community evolved, leading us to adapt our current models and university resources to provide relevant and sustainable community support. We hope you will walk away from this session with a new perspective on community and action items to help your team not only be proactive in preparing for the next crisis, but perhaps make lasting changes to your current model of engagement.